CIA official aware of arming contras

CIA official Alan Fiers acknowledged to Congress he was aware lethal supplies were being air-dropped to the Nicaraguan contras with US assistance, according to declassified testimony released yesterday. Mr. Fiers, chief of the agency's Central American task force, said he provided direction for US assistance in lethal materiel drops to contras fighting on Nicaragua's southern front in 1986.

Fiers said that under an unusual arrangement, the task force managed agency operations in Central America and reported directly to then-CIA director William J. Casey and his deputy. He also defended his receipt of a $20,000 CIA bonus for 1986. Other documents released show congressional investigators found no evidence of drug trafficking by the Nicaraguan rebels.

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